Falling just short

Grafton boys come up one point shy in second straight tight league battle

GRAFTON’S TYLER TSUI went up high for a shot in a 72-71 loss to Homestead on Friday. Photo by Mitch Maersch
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

If it was resilience, the Grafton High School boys’ basketball team might be undefeated this season.

But it’s points on the scoreboard that ultimately determine games, and a last-second near miss last Friday sent the Black Hawks to their second straight heartbreaker.

The Hawks lost, 72-71, to Homestead, to fall to 2-2 on the season and 1-2 in the North Shore Conference.

With 16.2 seconds left and Grafton clinging to a 1-point lead, Ryan Waddell drew a foul on a three-pointer and made his first and third free throws.

Grafton called timeout, then quickly got the ball up court to their top scorer, Alex Huibregtse. The junior guard looked for an opening, spun around on his pivot foot and  launched a shot that was just off.

A Highlander grabbed the rebound as time ran out.

“They defended it well. But at the end of the day, players got to make plays. He had a good look. But that’s not what won it or lost it,” coach Damon James said.

“We let them get out in transition early in the second half and they pushed the lead out to nine.”

The Highlanders’ 10-0 run gave them a 55-46 lead with less than 10 minutes left, but the Hawks battled back to take a 69-68 lead on a quick short flip by senior guard Brady Ward with 91 seconds to play.

The Highlanders turned it over, but then stole the ball and scored to take the lead back.

Sophomore Bryson Clague drained two free throws to give the Hawks the lead, 71-70, before Waddell drew the foul on the three-pointer.

“That’s our resilience,” James said of the comeback.

“These guys have been in these moments last year — these are the things we’re trying to correct, winning these games instead of losing them.”

Huibregtse led the Hawks with 20 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field and 5-for-6 on free throws. He made one of four three-pointers.

Ben Wilkin scored 15 points, including going 3-for-6 on three-pointers. Jaden Polack scored 12 points, and Clauge had 11.

“Obviously, a lot of attention has gone toward Alex, but we have other guys, and we tell those other guys, ‘be confident. Play, shoot attack,’” James said.

The team made 18-for-23 at the free-throw line, a marked improvement over a 10-for-19 performance in a 68-65 overtime loss at West Bend East the week before.

The game was tight throughout as the Highlanders held a 5-point lead twice in the first half before the Hawks used a 14-5 run to take a 36-32 lead at the break.

J.P. Benzschawel, Grafton’s inside presence at 6 feet, 7 inches tall, missed the game due to a family function.

Declan Ciurlik led Homestead (4-0) with 20 points. Waddell had 14, and Miles Davis had 11.

The Hawks were to play at Whitefish Bay on Tuesday, host Nicolet on Friday and host Cedarburg on Tuesday, Dec. 18.

Port hangs with Nicolet for a little while

The Port Washington boys stayed with the favorite to win the NSC on the road Dec. 5 before losing, 80-36, to Nicolet.

At the 11-minute mark of the first half, Port was down 12-11.

“We played really, really well defensively and we rebounded really well. The problem was we weren’t making enough shots,” coach Brian Hebein said.

The Knights went on a run to take a 35-17 halftime lead and then pulled away, using their length and athleticism — Port was 4 to 6 inches shorter at every position — to shoot over the Pirates on offense and pressure them using different presses and traps on defense.

Adam Baierl led Port with 12 points. Jacob Lippe had seven and Nolan Mueller had six.

The Knights shot 68% on two-pointers but Port held them to 12 offensive rebounds.

Port (0-3) was to play at Cedarburg on Tuesday and open their new gym against NSC opponent Hartford on Friday.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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